MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Suncrest Middle School claimed victory at the 30th annual West Virginia Regional Science Bowl, held February 5-6, 2021, in a virtual setting.
One of 11 middle school teams participated in the competition, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The West Virginia Science Bowl (WVSB) tested students’ knowledge of math and science topics. Kinsey Walker, the STEM education and outreach coordinator for the NETL West Virginia site said she was impressed with the level of competition this year.
It’s extremely gratifying, and they never cease to impress me every year with what they are able to do. Because a lot of the supplemental materials that they get in these advanced competitions is not necessarily grade-level material, it’s sometimes well above their grade level, so they never cease to amaze me. Especially the middle school students with the materials they are able to cover every yearKinsey Walker – Stem Education and Outreach Coordinator, West Virginia Site
Now that Suncrest Middle Team 1 has won, they will be turning their sights on Washington, D.C. The winners of the 2021 WVSB competition earned an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they will represent West Virginia in DOE’s National Science Bowl scheduled for April 29-May 3, which will also be in a virtual format.
Walker said there is nothing too different for contestants at the national level. The only key difference will be there will be volunteers from all around the country. This means a moderator might be from California and not somewhere in West Virginia, for example.
If your school is interested in creating a science bowl team and would like to give Suncrest a run for its money next year, Walker recommends reaching out.
She said the best way to do so by having a teacher of coach reaching out to her office.
“It’s really great to have a teacher at your school that is knowledgeable,” she said. “And if you don’t, contact us because if they know more about the competition, then they can facilitate your team’s participation. It’s really about having a teacher that can connect with us, learn information about the competition. If your student is interested, their coach can be someone we can work with and support if they have never competed before.”
No matter your level of experience, Walker said, schools should still give the science bowl a chance. She also highly recommends trying other competitions because most of them are virtual these days and require little to no traveling.
In the end, Walker said, the work it takes to field a bowl team goes beyond her, and she is thankful for everyone who took part this year.
“It’s really all about the coaches working with their students,” she said. “We couldn’t pull it off without the teachers.”
According to a NETL press release, in the middle school division, the second, third, and fourth place was awarded to Triadelphia Middle School Team 1 of Ohio County; Williamstown Middle School, of Wood County; and Triadelphia Middle School Team 2, respectively.